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Freddie Mac Reports Rates Inch Closer to Five Percent
Mar 24, 2011

Freddie Mac has released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS), which shows rates nearing the five percent mark to 4.81 percent from the previous week, influenced by inflationary and ongoing geopolitical concerns, such as the tsunami in Japan and politial unrest in Libya. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) at 4.81 percent, with an average 0.7 point for the week ending March 24, 2011, was up from last week when it averaged 4.76 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.99 percent. “Mortgage rates were up this week compared to last, but still remain at relatively low levels," said Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist, Freddie Mac. "The rate uptick was related to higher than anticipated inflation data for February and ongoing geopolitical concerns. The 12-month growth rate in the consumer price index rose 2.1 percent in February, compared to 1.6 percent in January; however, most of the increase was due to food and energy prices, which tend to be volatile. The core index rose 1.1 percent, slightly up from one percent in January." The 15-year FRM averaged 4.04 percent with an average 0.7 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.97 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 4.34 percent. The five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.62 percent this week, with an average 0.6 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.57 percent. A year ago, the five-year ARM averaged 4.14 percent. The one-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 3.21 percent this week with an average 0.6 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.17 percent. At this time last year, the one-year ARM averaged 4.2 percent. “The housing market recovery experienced a setback during the start of this year. Existing home sales fell 9.6 percent from January to February and were down 2.8 percent from February 2010," said Nothaft. "Sales of new homes declined for the second consecutive month in February to record lows dating back to 1963. Even new construction on one-family homes fell 11.8 percent in February to the third slowest pace since 1959."
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